Another Great Escape

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

England: 3 Hungary: 1

Hopefully England can keep this up in the next month or so.

Mini me update @ 19 weeks 6 days


The baby was relaxing with it's legs crossed and one arm behind it's head. How cool is that!??

Psalm 139

13 For you created my inmost being;
you knit me together in my mother's womb.

14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
your works are wonderful,
I know that full well.

15 My frame was not hidden from you
when I was made in the secret place.

Monday, May 29, 2006

The quest for maternity wear

Today was our first proper outing into the realm of maternity wear. Claire is about 20 weeks gone now, so her bump is getting bigger literally by the day. So she's growing out of her pre-maternity clothes pretty fast. Anyway, as a bloke, womens's clothes shopping isn't the best thing to do in the world but today she experienced the pain I feel (sometimes) when we're off shopping. The selection of stuff in the shops was utter crap. It must have been a man who designed the maternity layout in the shops - it was obvious whoever did it, had not experienced what it was to be pregnant or live with a pregnant woman.

In Mothercare (of all places) the clothes were too high on the rails, in Next the selection consisted of 3 rails of polar opposite sizes, M&S doesn't stock maternity in its stores yet, Dorothy Perkins wasn't too bad - although only if you like day-glo orange or Amazonian-frog green, maternity wear hasn't come to Gap UK yet, H&M was a non starter, Debenhams wasn't too bad although it took us a while to find the single tiny dept. and last but not least House of Fraiser! Well, what can I say. I was stunned, the clothes were up on the top floor, tucked in a dark corner, and all it was made up of were about 4 pairs of jeans and a couple of floaty tops.

Needless to day we didn't get much - although we did get a pair of jeans.

Saturday, May 27, 2006

Could this be the Mac stereotype??

Could this be the Mac stereotype? Sad lads, with a slightly over zealous affection for Starwars, with way too much time on their hands! All we need now is an Nerdy Anorak voice going, "well, you can do anything with a Mac."

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Confession time

I have a confession to make...I'm a bit of a Big Brother fan. I'm sat here (semi) watching the new contestants enter the house. There's the usual mix of weirdos; there's a posh boy, a overly camp Scottish bloke (who sounds like Mrs Doubtfire), some girl that could be the chav off the Catherine Tate show, a skinny English-hating Welsh life guard, a "35" year old plastic surgery addict, a "sexual terrorist", numerous nymphomaniacs, a Scouser, a Manc (who sounds like Jimmy Cranky on speed), a few bigheads, and a bloke with Tourettes. If my Grampy was alive he'd say it was tripe. That describes it pretty much exactly. However, there's something there which makes me watch it. It's quite self affirming really - I know I'm sane, I know that my life is good, I know I've got it together.

Monday, May 15, 2006

Suits you sir!

Man about town.

I found this ace website - There is some cracking stuff on here. Good for a laugh if you like retro stuff.

How things have changed!

Sunday, May 14, 2006

I have a Green Card - apparently

I got sent this email today - could it be an answer to pray? Could it be my ticket out of here? Let me think....



More options 17:30 (3 hours ago)

Usafis Organsation
National Visa Center
Espana Zonal Office.

Dear Winner,

Congratulations!We are please to offically inform you that your email has been luckily seleceted as one of the fifty thousnad (50,000)lucky winner in this annual year america green card visa lottery programm called (DV-2006).

What is a U.S Green Card?
The "Green Card" is an immigrant visa to the United States. It allows you to legally live, work and study permanently in the United States and to enter and leave the country freely. Green card holders also receive health, education, and other rights, and they can sponsor relatives for Green Cards. This lottery is adminstered by the Usafis Organsation,and you as a winner is entitled to free ticket to the U.S.A.

The annual DV program makes permanent residence visas available to persons meeting the simple, but strict, eligibility requirements. Applicants for Diversity Visas are chosen by a "COMPUTER-GENERATED" random lottery draw. The visas, however, are distributed among six geographic regions with a greater number of visas going to regions with lower rates of immigration,which will give you legal right to live and work permanently in the United States.

How do I know if I won?
Those selected will be notified by email between the month of May and July each year and will be provided further instructions,including information on fees connected with immigration to the U.S. Persons not selected will NOT receive any notification

Are there any additional fees?
No.Except for processing fee for the use of the registration wizard and the submission service, there are no additional fees to enter the lottery. If you win, you must pay a fee for an immigrant visa and a separate visa lottery surcharge.

Consequently,you have therefore been PRE-APPROVED to live in the united state.The following particulars are attached to your processing/approved order to live in the U.S below


To immediately process your "GREEN CARD" contact the under listed U.S afiliate program agent on there 24hours hot-line and give them your name with the file refernce number with 2 day to avoid disqualification/cancellation of this program you have just won.

Mr.Pako Carlos
calle colon 1(28972).Barcelona,spain.

The claim agent will assist you in the processing of all the necessary documents that will enable you live and work in the U.S

N.B:Terms and conditions:
1.Please quote your Reference number,your full name and address,Country, Telephone,mobile,fax number and occupation to your calim agent

Once again on behalf of all our staff,CONGRATULATIONS!!!.This promotion programm is sponsored by USAFIS ORGANIZATION.All informations have to be kept out of public to avoid double processing and unwarranted abuse of the programme.


Don Gold

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Pepperidge Farm

A post inspired by a packet of Pepperidge Farm (baked not fried!) snacks!

I have a thing for most things American. When I saw the packet of Pepperidge Farm snacks I just couldn't resist. I know it's money in Tesco's pocket, I know I probably didn't need to buy these snacks, but it was American.

My affection for things American is a mystery at times. I sometimes wonder, for a split second, whether I was adopted, or whether the years of American TV has brainwashed me. Some people I know really dislike American's, although most of those have never been there or met someone from the states. Maybe the proliferation of American food places (we now have Subway - Wendy's next please) is to blame?

My first exposure with real Americans (BA Baracus, Rocky and Superman doesn't count) was at Church. I was 9. There was something about their outlook and attitude that really attracted me as a nine year old. They were positive, friendly, off the wall and generally just nice people. I remained in that church for another 10 or so years, making friends and doing the growing up thing. At each stage in my life I was injected with a bit more Americanism. If it wasn't for an American Pastor I wouldn't have become a Christian. Now, I don't want too much emphasis put of these people - I can't discount the A-Team, Dukes Of Hazard or MacGyver for their influence either.

My attraction hasn't eased, infact, with the dawn of the internet things have got worse - We're on to our 2nd PT Cruiser. I've had the opportunity to travel and live in America a number of times. Each time adding an extra American segment to my life. My first trip, infact my first trip out of England, was at 18 years old. This really made me - I was a shy, spotty teenager with a dodgy dress sense before. I was forced out of my comfort zone, I was 4000 miles from home, with no Marmite, no Tetley Tea or access to Twiglets. I had the added bonus of speaking with an accent though. Meeting, working and getting to know other people of my age was what I needed at that time in my life. I came back, confident, still spotty but with an improved dress sense. I also developed a thing for Tootsie Rolls and Root Beer - this addiction is still something I struggle with!

Americans (generally speaking) have a completely different attitude to life. One that is so different to any other I have come in contact with. There is an unbridled enthusiasm, an unstoppable energy - something that is just different to what things are like here. I'm not selling out on Britain or my Britishness, and although I have often talked about it I don't think I'd permenantly move to the states. Whatever I do, wherever I travel, whatever I watch/eat/drink, it doesn't take out the Briton in me. The fact still remains that I am drawn to a nation/people/concept/image/place that is different to mine.

The people that I've met have had the most influence on me. Like I said before, in every segment of my life I've be in contact with Americans. The fact that we both speak a similar language shouldn't detract from how different they are. Their whole concept of doing things is just bigger, better, in someways more naturally professional - Just watching certain TV programmes - Extreme Make over: Home edition, for example, where they basically demolish a house, rebuild it 3x as big, furnish it from Sears, by the family a car or two and then fund their children through college or pay off their mortgage. In comparison, we have Changing Rooms with its £500 budget, MDF cupboards and Laurence with his frilly cuffs. There is so many other examples.

The way they do church is different too. Whether it be mission, worship, whatever - it just seems more real. It might not be, maybe I just haven't come across a similar British church or I'vebeing duped. I'm not talking about the tele-evangelists with big hair and booming voices or the super-dooper-mega-whoop-de-do churches with 3 zillion members, with buses, coffee shops, etc, etc. I'm talking about honest people who share their faith in a way that doesn't alienate, that reflects contemporary culture and makes me want to go on sunday or wednesday or tuesday night.

Maybe you have a thing against Americans, maybe you don't like the proliferation of their culture on the global scene - but they do things well and we could learn a lot from how they do things.

Sunday, May 07, 2006

The burner is back!

Tonight is the night!

As you know I'm a bit of pyromaniac at heart. There is a certain connection between me and making things burn.

We had a wood burning patio heater as a wedding present, we've used it loads. Last year we used it a bit too much and it cracked in about 5 places. Right before we moved I was deciding whether to chuck it or not. I opted to glue it together. Well the glue wasn't heat proof and it cracked again. So today I put it back together with some fire cemment.

Tonight is the night that we fix the fire cemment and start off the burning season!

Saturday, May 06, 2006

New Blog - Eyes Turned Outwards

I contribute to another blog - Eyes Turned Outwards Check it out. It's quite forward thinking, it talks about a lot of issues surrounding being a christian in our culture. And of course if I'm contributing, it must be good!! Only kidding.

Friday, May 05, 2006

Teacher Moment

I had a bit of a teacher moment today. It was one of those times when you realise what a great job teaching can be.

I teach a mixed year5/6 class. Those of you that know the English Ed. system, know that next week year 6 pupils will be taking their end of Key Stage 2 SATs. We've been preparing for a while, revision sessions, booster classes, etc. Today we finished off our prep. with a relaxation class. I did this with last year's year 6's and it seemed to go well then. Anyway, I was a bit sceptical about this lot, some of them are premadonna's, others are a just a pain in the neck.

The kids went into the hall and got ready. I turned the tape on. They listened. The tape was a bit cheesy, but once the kids got over the voice they relaxed. It was amazing, within 15 minutes half the group were asleep. Total chill out.

Whilst they were relaxing, I was thinking about this group. The pressure of SATs for me as a teacher is imense. I have targets from the LEA, my own proffessional development targets and the knowledge that these results will be published. However, for an 10 or 11 year old I can't imagine. We try our hardest not to make too bigger deal about it. I was getting all mellow thinking about how I've helped shape these kids, but then worrying that I'd put too much pressure on them. The ambiance was shattered when the phone rang though - one of the girls, although only 11 acts and looks much older, burst into tears. She had woke up and didn't know where she was and she just started to cry. I just remembered that she was a kid. Sometimes I forget how much "child" is left in the older kids at school. They act so old sometimes that you forget that they worry about stuff, burst into tears, curl up in the foetel position, etc.

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Sunday Best

I found these from Headphonaught's blog - I thought this design would go down like a lead balloon in a certain religious establishment that I used to frequent!

I'm not sure the people concerned would understand the Theology, so obviously, behind these shirts.

For more ace designs visit LARDMONKEY - I will once I get our cash flow situation sorted (which it should be tomorrow)

looking for a church?

One of my fav. TV shows - this one is interesting, although I don't know how it turns out.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

An interesting day

I've got to be quick as we're off swimming. Not my choice of activity for a wednesday night, but hey.

I was feeling a bit negative about today - it was the last of my Leading from the Middle development days - I wasn't really looking forward to it. Partly because I thought that I hadn't done the work for it and partly because I'd rather spend this week with the kids in my class before they sit their SATs next week. Well, it turned out to be a good day. I learnt a lot. Usually these type of courses can be full of management speak or as one bloke put it "psycho-bollocks". This one was quite good.

When I started this course 9 months ago I felt as if I was a small fish in a big pond. There seemed to be so many other people with more experience and bigger teams to manage. I really didn't think I'd last it out. The thing is - I've really learnt things about myself. To other people these things may seem miniscule or unimportant but to me it has been like a road to Damascus experience. It has been one of those rare moments of clarity that most people get, where all the cogs turn or all the planets align or when everything just falls into place. The bits of advice, guidance, coaching, mentoring, chatting and just having time out of school to think and reflect have all contributed to changes to my profesional life. I'm not perfect, I haven't cracked it completly but the seeds have been sown.

I still have lots to process.